To some extent, recovery from alcohol addiction is much harder than recovering from addiction to other substances. This is because alcohol is everywhere, and associated with almost every social event that we might attend. A recovering crack addict is usually not bombarded by daily images and reminders of crack use, but it’s a definitely a different experience for an alcoholic.
Many people recovering from booze simply choose not to associate with drinkers anymore. But for others, it’s nearly impossible as it would mean not being able to socialize with friends and colleagues or attend family occasions. If you’re seeking some sense of “normality” in your social life after giving up alcohol, it will pay to be prepared for the possibility of a night out where other people may be imbibing while you’re not. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe and strong.
1. Take a sober buddy with you.
Having a sober friend can be a great source of accountability and support. He or she can empower you to refrain from drinking, especially when everybody else is holding a drink in their hands and the pressure is high. The two of you can also help each other have an enjoyable time while staying true to your commitment throughout the night.
2. Prepare a “get-out” plan.
Strategize your escape. Once you’re there, observe yourself and be mindful of how you’re feeling. If you find that things are starting to become overwhelming, or you’re finding it difficult to manage people who are drinking around you, then you can make good on your plan of exit.
3. Don’t miss your meetings.
Attending a meeting right before and immediately after a night out can help you strengthen your resolve and give you an extra boost to withstand the difficulties that come with such events. For extra measure, it’s also important to time your nights out well. It’s probably a good idea to avoid going out to drinking occasions while in early recovery unless it absolutely cannot be avoided. As you attend your meetings, share your concerns about an upcoming event so others may be able to give you more tips and support for staying sober.
4. Drive to the event.
Knowing you have to stay sober in order to drive home can be an easy way of avoiding any pressure to drink. If you’re with people whom you don’t wish to disclose your sobriety, telling them you don’t want to drink and drive can sometimes help stop them from insistently offering you alcohol. Generally, even just knowing that your sober self is your only ride home can be a good motivator to continuously say no.
5. Focus on the rewards of sobriety.
Think of waking up the next day with no hangover, when all your drinking friends will be suffering from their over-indulgence. Relish in the fact that you will remember every minute of the night. Take pride in the pact you’ve made with yourself as well as all the progress you’ve already made.
Many people find that they simply do not wish to go out to places where other people will be getting drunk. However, there are unavoidable situations, such as hard-to-escape work nights out, weddings, holidays and other festivities. That’s why it’s worthwhile to prepare for such occasions and to plan things very carefully to avoid slipping up. But rest assured, the longer you stay on the path, the easier it will get to choose sobriety every single time.